Since this is my first blog for our new Alliance SBDC newsletter, I thought that I should write something that I felt extremely passionate about. Then I realized that what makes a blog worth reading is not what the writer wants to write about but rather what readers want to read about. So I decided to try and do both!
Lately, I’ve counseled with a lot of business owner’s seeking advice on how to add customers and revenues to their business. It seems like their business world changed over the past few years but they’re not sure how they should respond to keep the business running strong and healthy. So I came up with 3 key things to consider.
- Subscribe to 2 magazines that are specific to your Industry and read them cover-to-cover each month (even the ads!) Dollar-for-dollar, this investment will keep you up-to-date and thinking about cutting edge ideas.
- Build a Customer Data-base w/ e-mails. One of the ways that the world has changed dramatically is through the use of technology to communicate with our customers. Its cheap, effective (when done right) and will only continue to become more important as a marketing tool. But you can’t stay competitive if you don’t have electronic addresses (e-mails) through which to reach your changing customer base.
- “Your brand isn’t what you say it is, its what your customers experience” – David Boring, Never Boring Design Associates. One of the most down-to-Earth and successful marketing people I know is David Boring founder and principle of NBDA. According to David, most small business owners don’t think that they have a “Brand”. You may not yet be a Kleenex or Jello, but your brand exists even if you have one customer. Do everything you can to build your brand from the day you open your business. Be sure that customers experience your business in such a way that builds loyalty and positive word-of-mouth.
Think about your “Brand” as what people experience as a result of your marketing efforts and your marketing like a rowboat. More marketing elements in your business is like more people with oars trying to row your boat. It’s a good thing but if you want to get to your destination (SUCCESS) quickly and efficiently you must coordinate and synchronize everyone trying to row the boat. Otherwise you frequently get off course, waste time on course corrections and maybe never quite reach the destination you intended. Make sure that all your marketing efforts (oars) are working together, coordinated and helping to build your Brand.